A British comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor, Spike Milligan was born Terence Alan Patrick Seán Milligan in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, British India to an Irish father and spent the first years of his life in India before spending the majority of his adult years in Britain.
Milligan served Britain in World War Two as a signaller in the 56th Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery, but before the war held the occupation of an amateur jazz vocalist and trumpeter. During the war he performed comedy sketches for his fellow soldiers and while serving in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.
After recovering from his injury, Milligan became a full time entertainer and eventually found his career on the radio in Britain. In 1962 he was declared stateless by the British government due to the passing of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, an act that saw people from colonies such as India unable to automatically claim citizenship in Britain. The act was designed to curb the rapid growth in the immigrant population; however Milligan found himself without British citizenship. He quickly became an Irish citizen.
His most successful program while on radio was The Goon Show, a comedy show that can be seen to be the inspiration for a generation of comedians including the famous Monty Python's Flying Circus. The show featured Milligan as well as Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine. It was during this period of Milligan’s life that he had his first of many mental breakdowns due to stress of writing and at one time needed to be hospitalised for two weeks for having a manic depressive breakdown resulting in his attempt to kill Peter Sellers with a Potato Knife.
He later made a transition into television with shows such as The Idiot Weekly, Price 2d (1956), The Telegoons (1963), Q5 (1969), and There's a Lot of It About (1982).
He is remembered for his film appearances in the films The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1960), The Bed Sitting Room (1969), The Great McGonagall (1974), and Life of Brian (1979).
Suffering from Bipolar disorder, Milligan had 10 documented mental breakdowns over the course of his life and precarious relationship with the Prince of Wales, with whom he was friends despite his once public insult of the English royal. He received a CBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1992 and in 2000 was made a KBE (Knight Commander of the British Empire); both of these titles were honorary due to his Irish citizenship.
Besides his screen and stage career, Milligan also wrote a number of books of poetry, some serious, some nonsensical rhyme. His comedic poems have been used alongside music as rhymes for school children world wide.
Spike Milligan died from liver disease, at the age of 83, on 27 February 2002.
FOX Classics TV guide
Saturday, 25 May 2013
- 6:00 AM Jeopardy!
- 6:30 AM The Golden Girls
- 7:00 AM I Love Lucy
- 7:00 AM Dad's Army
- 8:00 AM Porridge
- 8:30 AM Keeping Up Appearances
- 9:00 AM On the Buses
- 9:30 AM 'Allo 'Allo!
- 10:00 AM China Beach
- 11:00 AM Tour of Duty
- 12:00 PM The Undefeated
- 2:00 PM The War Wagon
- 3:40 PM 'Allo 'Allo!
- 4:00 PM The Virginian
- 5:30 PM Are You Being Served?
- 6:00 PM I Love Lucy
- 6:25 PM The Golden Girls
- 6:55 PM The Golden Girls
- 7:25 PM Keeping Up Appearances
- 7:55 PM Keeping Up Appearances
- 8:30 PM The Mask of Dimitrios
- 10:25 PM Helen of Troy
- 12:15 AM Carson City
- 1:40 AM The Big Valley
- 2:35 AM The Virginian
- 4:00 AM Gunsmoke
- 5:00 AM China Beach
- End of programming for Saturday, 25 May 2013